Canada was such a friendly country and great place to visit! My first example is where I arrived in Canada and retrieved my luggage & bike. One family happened to ask what was in the box, they thought it might have been a drum set. I corrected them and told them it was a bike and that I was in Calgary to race the 70.3 Ironman. From there, they asked even more questions regarding my stickers on my bike since I currently had 12 stickers from previous races. They asked if that was how many I had ever done, where I replied that was how many I have done since only March 19! Their eyes opened wide and their jaws dropped and told me I was crazy. They were even more shocked when I told them that I was only halfway through my season. A follow up question, they asked if this was normal? I informed them that no, I am actually racing for a cause, to raise money for injured and wounded combat service members. They were taken back by our conversation and my story and they made an immediate donation of $50 from their phone to the website! I was taken back by such kindness because I was just a stranger they met for only 20 minutes. I was told by my Canadian friend Amanda (and warned) that it is such a friendly town and country.
Another example about how friendly, caring, and giving Canada is, the 70.3 Ironman in Calgary is actually a fundraiser where 100% of the profits from the race goes to charity. I learned about this after the race talking to two other Canadian triathletes named Bob and Vince.
Canada has a beautiful countryside with large blue skies and mountains in the background. I was happy to have such clear waters on the swim, clean and smooth roads, and helpful volunteers on the run. This race was my fastest of the season where I clocked in at 4:19. Not my fastest swim, nor my run, but I killed it on the bike. I did so well that I had the fastest of all age groupers and even beat a couple pros on the bike. If I had to take anything away from this race it would be the run. It was challenging yet beautiful. A portion of the run was along a river that reminded me of fishing in Montana. The flowing water in the river looked so inviting that I wanted to jump in during the hot run. While on the run course, you can hear the water flowing instead of my feet slapping the ground. It was soothing and a nice change of scenery and sound instead of my footsteps on the hot surface.
During the post-race festivities, this is where I was able to meet Vince, a local Canadian who was waiting for his friend, Bob. During that time, Vince was asking me questions about my race, which led to me telling him about The Patriot Racer and my cause. There I learned that his brother is in the US Air Force so he was very accepting and encouraging for my cause. Once Bob finished his race and joined us, Vince was so excited about my story that he shared it with Bob. Vince and Bob were so awesome to hangout with, we even had beers after the race where they treated me. That evening Bob & I had steak and beers at a local steakhouse, but it was a bummer that Vince couldn’t join us because he was having stomach issues from the race. I have expressed how I always enjoy going to new cities and that I enjoy meeting new people and it is great to see how many people are alike in the Ironman/Triathlete/Athlete community. Overall, great race weekend where I headed home with the fastest time of the season, a 3rd place finish, and having met new friends.